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[Page 523]

192. Memorandum From the Chief of the Iran Branch, Near East and Africa Division (Waller) to the Chief of the Near East and Africa Division, Directorate of Plans, Central Intelligence Agency (Roosevelt)1

SUBJECT

  • Transmittal of Branch 4 Estimate Entitled “Factors Involved in the Overthrow of Mossadeq

Attached hereto is a Branch 4 Estimate entitled “Factors Involved in the Overthrow of Mossadeq”. This estimate drafted by Mr. Wilber represents Branch thinking. It is believed that it will prove useful as a guide for our PP planning, and as a reference source of background information.

John H. Waller

Attachment

Estimate Prepared in the Iran Branch, Near East and Africa Division, Directorate of Plans, Central Intelligence Agency

Washington, undated.

FACTORS INVOLVED IN THE OVERTHROW OF MOSSADEQ

Summary

I. Basic Assumptions

II. Evaluation of Principal Elements Concerned in Possible Replacement Operation

A. General Fazlullah Zahedi

1. Current position

a. Biographical sketch (see Appendix A)2

b. Evaluation of personality and capability

c. Motivation

d. Elements supporting Zahedi

[Page 524]

e. Relations with the Shah

f. Relations with Ayatollah Kashani

2. Negotiations with Zahedi

a. The Shah

b. Financial aid

c. Oil issue

d. Composition of government

e. Policy of government

B. The Shah

1. Personality

2. Negotiations with the Shah

C. Forces which will play a role in any effort to replace Mossadeq and to establish a stable government, and evaluation of their attitudes.

1. The Iranian Army

2. Tehran police

3. The Majlis

4. Political groups

a. Dissident elements of the National Front

b. Tudeh Party

c. Iran Party

d. Third Force

e. Baghai’s Toiler’s Party

f. Pan-Iranist

g. Sumka

h. Amayoun Party

5. Religious elements

a. Ayatollah Kashani

b. Respected political leaders

c. Fedayan Islam

6. Tribes

a. Qashqai

b. Other tribes

7. Social groups

a. Government officials

b. Merchants

c. Landowners

d. The general public

III. Assets which may be directed toward the replacement of Mossadeq

A. [1 line not declassified]

1. General factors

2. Political assets

[Page 525]

3. Military assets

4. Religious assets

5. Press assets

6. Activist assets

7. Penetration assets

8. Other assets

B. Other assets of the field station

1. [1 line not declassified]

2. Qashqai leaders

3. Former ranking members of the army and the police

4. [1 line not declassified]

5. [1 line not declassified]

C. [1 line not declassified]

IV. Estimate of the possibility of overthrowing Mossadeq by a Shah-Zahedi combination, supported by U.S. assets and policy

Appendix A

Fazlullah Zahedi

Summary

This study is based upon the premises that U.S. interest and policy requires the replacement of Mossadeq and that appropriate Agency assets should be committed to the support of General Zahedi, the contender for the Premiership who is currently most active and appears to have the widest local support.

Agency assets in Iran are not by themselves capable of overthrowing Mossadeq’s Government, but should Zahedi be supported by these assets and by financial backing his chance of success would be greatly enhanced.

Considerations bearing upon the replacement of Mossadeq and the firm establishment of a government headed by Zahedi are presented in the opening section of this study as a series of basic assumptions. Other sections of the study supply the background material upon which a number of the assumptions have been based.

Most vital of the basic assumptions is that which states that the government of Zahedi will not be able to establish itself or to remain long in power without the active support and moral leadership of the Shah. Hence, it is considered essential that a U.S. representative be placed in contact with the Shah in an effort to obtain a firm commitment of such support. Lacking such a commitment or faith that the commitment will really be carried out, the Agency should reconsider any plan to take positive action in support of Zahedi.

[Page 526]

Should Zahedi fail in his effort to replace Mossadeq when Agency assets had been involved in this effort, the result would be that these assets would be compromised and possibly destroyed. In addition, such a failure would fan National Front and public antipathy to such an extent that the Point IV and Military Missions might be expelled from Iran. The reaction might include a swing to closer relations with the USSR on the part of the Mossadeq Government.

Should developments cause active Agency support [to] be withheld from Zahedi, a detailed plan of operations should be prepared for such a time as Mossadeq falls from power as the result of other pressures. Mossadeq’s prestige and power is definitely on the decline and should this trend continue a successor, favored by the U.S., would find the task of taking over much easier than at the present time. In fact, it might be achieved without the backing of the Shah.

I. Basic Assumptions

These assumptions are listed in order of relative chronology. Sections which follow contain material in support of certain of the assumptions.

1. Mossadeq must go.

2. Appropriate U.S. covert assets will be directed toward his overthrow and U.S. policy action and financial aid will support his successor.

3. General Zahedi is the only currently active candidate to succeed Mossadeq who has a real chance of success.

4. For success Zahedi requires the energetic backing of the Shah which insures adequate support by the armed forces.

5. At this time Soviet reaction to a forced change in government would be limited in nature.

6. Failure of an attempted forced change would lead to violent Iranian reaction against the U.S.

7. Zahedi can last only if he manages the immediate removal of all dissident leaders.

8. Zahedi is allegedly anxious to settle the oil issue. A new proposal agreement must at least appear to be more generous than any previous one: it must not insist upon compensation for years in which concession would have covered.

9. Timing of oil agreement is of great importance as it should not be announced immediately after Zahedi takes office.

10. Zahedi’s cabinet must include the strongest possible individuals, including a U.S. approved choice of his successor.

11. Kashani’s influence with the Zahedi government must be restricted or neutralized.

[Page 527]

12. Items 7 through 11 must be agreed upon in advance by Zahedi and the U.S.

13. [2 lines not declassified]

14. Should Zahedi himself fall from power the U.S. must act to replace him by the chosen member of his cabinet.

II. Evaluation of Principal Elements Concerned in Possible Replacement Operation

A. General Fazlullah Zahedi

1. Current position

a. Biographical sketch (See Appendix A)

b. Evaluation of personality and capability

[3 lines not declassified] indicate that he is competent, energetic, aggressive and patriotic. Derogatory comments also emphasize the aggressive aspect of his character.

Associated with the Nazi efforts in Iran during World War II, he has long been firmly anti-Soviet. A pro-Western orientation is reflected in the education of a son in the U.S. and the activity of this son in the Point IV office in Iran.

Local circles at Tehran believe him to be the only military man on the scene who would stage a coup and follow it through with forcefulness.

c. Motivation

Subject is personally ambitious, but at this particular time he probably feels he is the only man strong enough to bring order out of the present chaos. He has displayed reason and restraint in answering charges made against him by the National Front, and his self confidence has certainly been reinforced by the fact that various elements have asked him to assume leadership of the country. At least as early as the summer of 1952 he was preparing to take over the government.

d. Elements supporting Zahedi

On 2 April 1953 Zahedi claimed that he was supported by the following elements:

Ayatollah Kashani

Minister of Court Ala and other Court officials

Military elements: Association of Retired Army Officers, several Army officers in key posts, and General Batmangelish.

Amayoun Party (Group which consists largely of “old guard” anti-National Front Senators. This group has Free Mason overtones.)

Large segment of the bazaar, including leading merchant Nikpur

Former supporters of Ahmad Qavam

Majority of the people (sic)

[Page 528]

An evaluation of the position of some of these elements is given in a following section. It must be noted that of this number only the Association of Retired Army Officers can be considered as wholeheartedly behind Zahedi. Until very recently Zahedi seemed interested in obtaining power by constitutional means—as the choice of the Majlis—but in April he was ready to stage a coup if he were to be appointed Prime Minister by a royal decree. At this time he claimed to have selected his cabinet and the heads of the army, gendarmérie and police.

e. Relations with the Shah

Zahedi was a faithful servant of the late Reza Shah and has enjoyed the confidence and good-will of his son, the present ruler. In 1947 the Shah named him Inspector General and in 1949 when General Razmara forced him out of the Army the Shah named him as his Adjutant. In 1950 the Shah appointed him to the First Senate and in 1951 he was Minister of Interior in the pro-Shah cabinet headed by Ala, present Minister of Court. Throughout 1952 there seems to have been little direct contact between the Shah and Zahedi. Then on 11 April the Shah is said to have favored Zahedi as successor to Mossadeq, but believed that the decision was up to the Majlis and must wait until Mossadeq’s popularity had declined even lower.

f. Relations with Ayatollah Kashani

Kashani undoubtedly plans to direct the affairs of Iran as the power behind the successor of Mossadeq. As early as September 1952 Kashani is said to have selected Zahedi to replace Mossadeq.

On 2 April 1953 Zahedi claimed the support of Kashani and on 11 April he stated that Kashani was reaching an understanding with Borujerdi and Behbehani—influential religious leaders—on the necessity of encouraging the Shah to stand up to Mossadeq.

Certainly Zahedi and Kashani do not trust each other: Zahedi says he will get rid of Kashani in due course, while Kashani must feel that he could control Zahedi.

2. Negotiations with Zahedi

Within the first two weeks of April 1953 Zahedi appeared ready to insist that the Shah appoint him Prime Minister, but he has failed to press this point. It is believed that Zahedi will not act precipitously and will not attempt to carry out a coup or any more legalistic maneuver without assurances of U.S. support. [3 lines not declassified]

[2 paragraphs (11 lines) not declassified]

(3) Oil Issue

Zahedi will be presented with the draft of an oil agreement which is to be implemented after his government is firmly established. He will be assured that implementation of the agreement will be followed by a [Page 529]very substantial sum from the U.S., either as a cash advance on oil sales or as a grant.

[2 paragraphs (12 lines) not declassified]

B. The Shah

1. Personality

“The Shah has vivacity, imagination, and wit, tempered with a deep sense of personal dignity and an almost mystical feeling of his mission and duty to Iran. . . The Shah identifies himself strongly with the Iranian Army, considering himself a qualified strategist and tactician. Devoting a great deal of his private fortune on charities, his popularity is now much greater than at his accession. Were he to make himself absolute dictator on the model of his father, the Iranian people . . . would acquiesce, but his attachment to democratic principles prevents such a step” (NIS).3

In spite of all of these admirable qualities, the Shah has shown himself to be vacillating, hesitating and indecisive. On many occasions when he has finally made up his mind as to a positive course of action he has soon failed to follow through and abandoned his plans. Not even those Prime Ministers in whom he had most confidence have enjoyed his positive backing over any extended period.

It has been stated that the Shah might rise to a vital emergency, assume the moral leadership of the country, and give sincere support to a constructive government. It is just as possible that he will never be able to overcome his handicaps of vacillation and indecision. However, in his one great test—that of the recovery of Azerbaijan from the pro-Soviet regime—he displayed real leadership. Again in March 1953 the public demonstrations in his favor caused him to refuse Mossadeq’s demand to leave Iran. The Shah has stated that he is prepared to sacrifice his life or his throne for the good of his country.

2. Negotiations with the Shah

It has been assumed that Zahedi will not be successful in establishing himself through a coup or legalistic maneuver without the whole hearted support of the Shah. To support this assumption there is the example of the short-lived premiership of Ahmad Qavam in July 1952 where such support was lacking. With control of the armed forces now more firmly in the hands of Mossadeq, only the Shah has the capacity of appealing to the basic loyalties of the staff officers to a point where they might follow the orders of the Shah and of Zahedi rather than of Mossadeq.

[Page 530]

Before definite negotiations are completed with Zahedi it is vital that a U.S. representative be placed in contact with the Shah. This representative should present the point of view that if the Shah will supply the moral leadership the U.S. will support, by every means, the most logical successor to Mossadeq. The alternative will be the continued disintegration and eventual collapse of Iran. The point should be stressed that this is the Shah’s final time for decision and, that failing this time, he will have betrayed his country. Discussions should cover the steps to be taken by the Shah in replacing Mossadeq by Zahedi, worked out in all pertinent details. Should the Shah give the required assurances, negotiations would be concluded with Zahedi. If the U.S. representative felt that the Shah would not rise to the occasion, the projected operation should be discarded.

The choice of a suitable representative is of great importance. George Allen, largely responsible for the Shah’s decisive action at the time of the recovery of Azerbaijan, would be the ideal choice. A military man, such as one of the former heads of the U.S. Military Mission to Iran, is another possibility. It would seem less advisible to employ the current diplomatic representative, because his presentation would lack the special quality of that of a special representative and because of the risk that his efforts might be disclosed and his usefulness in Iran ended.

C. Forces which will play a role in any effort to replace Mossadeq and to establish a stable government, and evaluation of their attitude

1. The Iranian Army

The bulk of the security forces have a strong sense of traditional loyalty to the Shah, but the rank and file may be expected to follow the orders of their superiors who were appointed to their present posts by Mossadeq. The events of July 1952 when the action of force at Tehran was not supported by the Shah tended to weaken the traditional bonds of loyalty between the throne and the army.

Any coup promoted by Zahedi or any legalistic maneuver to put him in power would fail unless supported by the armed forces at Tehran. Until about a year ago the First Division at Tehran, the so-called Guards Division, was in a position to control the course of events and this force was loyal to the Shah. Mossadeq, realizing the situation, had this division split into three separate brigades with officers of his own choosing in command. There are also two armored brigades and the central MP Brigade at Tehran. Headquarters has no information as to the personal sympathies or political inclinations of the commanders of these brigades. It is very doubtful if any of these commanders would obey orders of Zahedi directed at the overthrow of [Page 531] Mossadeq, but more probable that some of them would execute orders of the Shah acting in support of Zahedi.

Should the commanders of the brigades at Tehran incline to neither side the outcome of any coup or legalistic maneuver to replace Mossadeq would depend upon whether Mossadeq or Zahedi could muster the largest civilian mobs.

There is no indication that Zahedi has control over armed forces in the provinces which he could move against Tehran.

2. Tehran Police

The Tehran Police have demonstrated—in July 1952—their inability to maintain order in face of mob violence. Hence they are not an element of importance, although headed by an officer appointed by Mossadeq.

3. The Majlis

The Majlis is not a4 factor to be considered in the course of a forceful coup. Should Zahedi come to power by a legalistic maneuver, he might receive an initial vote of confidence particularly if effective political action were taken among the deputies.

The Majlis numbers 79 deputies but this total number has never been present at recent sessions. Of this number 30 are allegedly loyal to Mossadeq. Four deputies are on the fence and the balance of 46 members is potentially anti-Mossadeq. This potential opposition is as follows:

Freedom Faction (composed of former
supporters of Mossadeq, led by Haerizadeh)
10
Ayatollah Kashani supporters 8
Opposition deputies 18
Pro-Shah deputies 10
Total 46

However, in spite of this potential opposition Mossadeq has won overwhelming votes of confidence in the past. These votes have been on his handling of the oil issue and on his retention of special powers. In recent weeks the opposition has increased in strength and should a test come on some such subject as the future position of the Shah in the constitutional government—and come at a time when a potentially strong successor is on the scene—Mossadeq might fall. Following the traditional pattern of past years, this successor would be given a vote of confidence by the Majlis.

[Page 532]

4. Political groups

a. Dissident elements of the National Front

Within the last year the National Front of Mossadeq—a very loose association of individuals of varying stature and power to influence the public—has tended to break up. These dissident elements are active within the Majlis—Haerizadeh, Baghai, and Makki—and without it. There seems little chance that these elements will coalese in positive support of such a figure as Zahedi and it also seems unlikely that they can assemble sizeable groups of anti-Mossadeq demonstrators.

b. Tudeh Party

The Tudeh Party has consistently and bitterly attacked the political activity of Mossadeq. However, since one of its basic aims is to disrupt internal security it has rushed to support of Mossadeq in his attacks against the Shah. By 4 April 1953 Tudeh members had been alerted to the possibility of a coup against Mossadeq and had been ordered to be ready to “protect” Mossadeq.5

The Tudeh Party may be able to assemble up to 10,000 demonstrators at Tehran from its Party members and the several pro-Soviet front groups active there. However, on 15 April 1953 it assembled only about 1,000 people in a pro-Mossadeq, anti-Shah demonstration.

c. Iran Party

This group is a leftist element of the National Front and is strongly pro-Mossadeq. It claims a membership of 10,000, with the percentage at Tehran not defined. This figure is much exaggerated, especially in view of the resignations of ranking members that took place at the recent annual convention of the Party. The Party’s strength is in the member-ship of a considerable number of high level permanent officials of the government and the Party has not mustered its members for demonstrations.

d. Third Force

This political group is headed by Khalil Maleki, once a leader of the Tudeh Party and more recently party organizer and theoretician for Baghai. Maleki claims 10,000 members, certainly an exaggeration as the party publications appeal to intellectual socialists. The Third Force has been pro-Mossadeq and is not expected to lend its support to the Shah. It has no record of mustering demonstrators.

e. Baghai’s Toilers Party

Earlier a lieutenant of Mossadeq, Baghai has openly opposed him over the allegedly undemocratic and unconstitutional methods of Mossadeq. Should a show down between Mossadeq and the Shah be di[Page 533]verted to a vote on the continuation of Mossadeq’s plenary powers, Baghai would probably oppose Mossadeq. Baghai has not more than three faithful followers among the Majlis deputies. The Party claims 10,000 members but—given the defection of Maleki, probably has less than 2,000 active members. The Party has not been mustered for street demonstrations.

f. Pan-Iranist

This group is violently anti-Soviet and anti-foreign in general. Small in total numbers, it does have branches in many provincial towns and its importance resides in the fact that it can call out small groups of street fighters. The group has been consistently pro-Mossadeq, but has a strong inherent loyalty to the Shah and might split on the issue of which of these individuals it should support.

g. Sumka

This National Socialist Party is small in size but capable of producing fanatical street fighters. Repressed from time to time by Mossadeq, it might side with the Shah in a show down. It is very anti-Soviet. In October 1952 its leader tried to interest Zahedi in supporting his party.

h. Amayoun (or Amiyun) Party

Zahedi claims the support of this group. It is believed to be an association of individuals of conservative leanings who have formerly held high posts in the government and have more recently been members of the Senate. Ala, Minister of Court, is a member. The group has British and Masonic overtones.

5. Religious Elements

a. Ayatollah Kashani

On the occasion of recent show-downs with Mossadeq Kashani has always lost out. For this reason he has turned to support of the Shah in an effort to build up a coalition—directed by himself—which would be capable of replacing Mossadeq. As president of the Majlis Kashani has considered it beneath his dignity to actually preside at the sessions and from this and other indications it seems certain that he is not interested in becoming Prime Minister himself, but in directing a successor to Mossadeq.

Kashani’s power is not that of a spiritual leader, but of a schemer who can obtain the funds necessary to call out mobs from the bazaar section of Tehran. To date these mobs have not been as effective as the groups mustered by either Mossadeq or the Tudeh Party.

b. Respected religious leaders.

This element is headed by Ayatollah Borujerdi, resident at Qum, the supreme spiritual leader of the Moslems. It includes such figures as the influential Behbehani at Tehran. These individuals have tended to [Page 534]avoid entanglement in the political arena, but on 11 April 1953 Zahedi reported that Kashani, Borujerdi and Behbehani were reaching an understanding on the need to bolster the Shah in resistance to Mossadeq.6 About this same time two clerics who are also deputies in the Majlis from Tabriz informed Borujerdi that the people of Azerbaijan were demanding that they leave the National Front because of Mossadeq’s attitude toward the Shah. Borujerdi is alleged to have instructed them to form a religious faction within the Majlis.

While it is extremely unlikely that he could be persuaded to take such a step, were Borujerdi to call for the active support of the Shah his spiritual associates could assemble a very large force of demonstrators and influence public opinion to a very high degree.

c. Fedayan Islam

This group of fanatics, with a record of political assassinations, is unfavorably disposed to Mossadeq and bitterly opposed to certain members of his government. This small group is currently cool toward Kashani, who is allegedly trying to establish good relations with them. Quiet at present, this group may break out at any time. However, it is not known how its leader, Navvab Safavi, may be influenced in any specific direction.

6. Tribes

a. Qashqai

Two of the leaders of this most powerful of the Iranian tribes are deputies in the Majlis. They have consistently given their support to Mossadeq, largely because of their antipathy to the present Shah which stems from the severe repression of the tribe by Reza Shah. At the same time these leaders are reported to be on good terms with Zahedi. If offered substantial political and economic benefits by Zahedi they might remain passive in the event of the replacement of Mossadeq. Otherwise they might resort to armed action—as in 1946—and so disrupt the internal security of southwestern Iran.

b. Other tribes

The Bakhtiari leaders would probably support Zahedi, as would the Lur, Shahsevan, Khamseh and Zolfaghari tribal elements. The Kurds would probably not take sides. It is unlikely that any of these groups would take up arms, either in support of Mossadeq or of the Shah.

[Page 535]

7. Social groups

None of these groups could be expected to pursue an active role in the replacement of Mossadeq. However, individual members might be sources of funds or aid in maintaining internal stability.

a. Government officials

With the exception of members of the Iran Party, the higher officials would tend to remain neutral with respect to Mossadeq. The lower levels, subject to increasing economic uncertainty, would be glad to see him go.

b. Merchants

Kashani can muster the support of a large segment of the leading merchants in the bazaar. The top level, engaged in foreign trade, might well furnish funds for activity against Mossadeq and Zahedi claims to have the financial backing of one member of this group. The mass of small shopkeepers, without influence, support Mossadeq.

c. Landowners

The majority of the landowners are opposed to Mossadeq and would employ their influence to attempt to keep order in the provinces in the event of his overthrow.

d. The General Public

Zahedi claims the support of the “majority of the people”, but it is far more likely that the man in the street continues to admire Mossadeq for his strong stand against the British and as a symbol of resurgent nationalism. However, this element is of no practical value to either side unless effectively organized and led. Action by this element will come only from the groups already listed in earlier headings.

III. Assets which may be directed toward the replacement of Mossadeq

These assets should be mobilized only in relation to a detailed plan of operations and such a plan would be the primary responsibility of the field station. Should all these assets be engaged in an all-out effort, it is certain that some of them would be exposed. Should the operation fail, some of these assets might be totally destroyed.

A. [1 line not declassified]

1. General Factors

[2 paragraphs (7 lines) not declassified]

2. Political Assets

[6 paragraphs (19 lines) not declassified]

3. Military Assets

[1 paragraph (5 lines) not declassified]

[Page 536]

4. Religious Assets

[6 paragraphs (17 lines) not declassified]

5. Press Assets

[less than 1 line not declassified] have extremely wide connections with the Tehran press. These contacts could be used to create an atmosphere favorable to Zahedi once he had taken over power. At the present time the great bulk of the press is already anti-Mossadeq. Once Zahedi was in power it should be possible to use the very severe press law put into effect by Mossadeq to suppress all pro-Mossadeq organs. [less than 1 line not declassified] should also make a major effort to win over the two most important Tehran papers, Ettelaat and Keyhan, to the support of Zahedi. Keyhan would probably be more receptive to such an effort.

[less than 1 line not declassified] also have the capability of producing and distributing posters, pamphlets and throw-aways.

6. Activist Assets

[less than 1 line not declassified] have the capabilities of bringing out gangs of street fighters. Through [less than 1 line not declassified] contacts with leaders of various segments of the Pan-Iranists they have encouraged this group to engage in street fights with the Tudeh Party. It is questionable whether [less than 1 line not declassified] could bring out the Pan-Iranists to fight for the Shah. They might be able to establish contact with the Sumka Party for this purpose and they probably could produce small, independent groups [less than 1 line not declassified].

7. Penetration Assets

[1 paragraph (5 lines) not declassified]

8. Other Assets

[3 paragraphs (8 lines) not declassified]

B. Other Assets of the Field Station

[4 paragraphs (13 lines) not declassified]

2. Qashqai Leaders

The field station has [less than 1 line not declassified] contact with the several brothers who head the Qashqai tribe. This contact has been in preparation for Qashqai resistance of the Soviet invasion of Iran and the station has not attempted to influence these leaders with respect to current political situations. With regard to the replacement of Mossadeq, it is not possible that the station would persuade these leaders to support the Shah. The most the station could do would be, as an intermediary between Zahedi and these leaders, to pass on assurances of political and economic benefits if they would refrain from open hostility toward Zahedi.

[Page 537]

3. Former ranking officers of the army and the police

The station has [1 line not declassified] and who could be directed to attempt to win the support of present army commanders for an operation against Mossadeq.

4. [1 line not declassified]

[1 paragraph (4 lines) not declassified]

5. [1 line not declassified]

[1 paragraph (7 lines) not declassified]

C. [1 line not declassified]

[5 paragraphs (24 lines) not declassified]

IV. Estimate of the possibility of overthrowing Mossadeq by a Shah–Zahedi combination, supported by U.S. assets and policy

The act of overthrow would be either a coup d’état or a rapid legalistic maneuver with Zahedi put into office by royal decree.

The attitude of two factors would determine the success of such an attempt. These factors are: (1) the Tehran Army garrison, and (2) the Tehran mobs.

Neither Zahedi nor any other military figure would be able to persuade the commanders of the Tehran garrison to follow his orders rather than those of Mossadeq as delivered through the Chief of Staff. However, should Zahedi be able to approach these commanders in the name of the Shah he should at least be able to neutralize the opposition of a large part of the garrison. Thus, a firm decision on the part of the Shah is essential to success.

Tehran mobs are composed of a number of elements. On at least two occasions in recent years they have overcome the resistance of the police and military to take over the capital for a matter of hours. Such a situation occurred in the “bread riots” of 1944 and on 21 July 1952. Up until the present Mossadeq has been able to draw the greatest street crowds, but this activity may have been more spontaneous than planned and directed. In fact, information as to how pro-Mossadeq crowds are summoned and directed is completely lacking. All available assets in Iran engaged in the operation of overthrowing Mossadeq should concentrate on the tasks of weakening the ability of Tudeh and Mossadeq to call out mobs and of building up the size and leadership of pro-Shah mobs.

Should the Shah–Zahedi combination be able to get the largest mobs in the streets and should a sizeable portion of the Tehran garrison refuse to carry out Mossadeq’s orders, the overthrow of Mossadeq would be certain.

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DDO Files, Job 80–01701R, Box 3, Folder 7, TPAJAX Vol. I. Top Secret; Security Information. Also distributed to the Chiefs of the Political Propaganda and Foreign Intelligence Divisions in NEA.
  2. An outline summary of Zahedi’s career is not printed.
  3. National Intelligence Survey, in Central Intelligence Agency, DDI Files, Job 01–00707R, Box 1, Folder 1, CIA/NIS National Intelligence Survey Gazetteer 1948–1954.
  4. The words “not a” have been crossed out by hand and replaced with the word “another.”
  5. See Document 185.
  6. See Document 193.